A simple and automated method for 161Tb purification and ICP‑MS analysis of 161Tb

Scott W. McNeil, Michiel Van de Voorde, Chengcheng Zhang, Maarten Ooms, François Bénard, Valery Radchenko, Hua Yang

Research outputpeer-review


Background: 161Tb is a radiolanthanide with the potential to replace 177Lu in targeted radionuclide therapy. 161Tb is produced via the neutron irradiation of [ 160Gd]Gd2O3 targets, and must be purified from 160Gd and the decay product 161Dy prior to use. Established purification methods require complex conditions or high-pressure ion chromatography (HPIC) which are inconvenient to introduce in a broad user community. This study aims to find a simpler small solid-phase extraction (SPE) column method for 161Tb purification that is more suitable for automation with commercially available systems like TRASIS. Results: We first tested the distribution coefficients on TK211 and TK212 resins for the separation of Gd, Tb, and Dy, and subsequently developed a method to separate these metal ions, with an additional TK221 resin to concentrate the final product. A side-by-side comparison of the products purified using this new method with the HPIC method was undertaken, assessing the radionuclidic purity, chemical purity regarding Gd and Dy, and labeling efficiency with a standard chelate (DOTA) and a novel chelate (crown). The two methods have comparable radionuclidic purity and labeling efficiency. The small SPE column method reduced Gd content to nanogram level, although still higher than the HPIC method. An ICP-MS method to quantify 161Tb, 159Tb, 160Gd, and 161Dy was developed with the application of mass-shift by ammonia gas. Last, 161Tb produced from the small SPE column method was used to assess the biodistribution of [161Tb]Tb-crown-αMSH, and the results were comparable to the HPIC produced 161Tb. Conclusions: 161Tb was successfully purified by a semi-automated TRASIS system using a combination of TrisKem extraction resins. The resulting product performed well in radiolabelling and in vivo experiments. However, improvement can be made in the form of further reduction of 160Gd target material in the final product. An ICP-MS method to analyze the radioactive product was developed. Combined with gamma spectroscopy, this method allows the purity of 161Tb being assessed before the decay of the product, providing a useful tool for quality control.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages17
JournalEJNMMI Radiopharmacy and Chemistry
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2022

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